Legal-eagle cable TV channel that melds the American appetite for judicial drama, celebrity spectacle, and remote-control democracy. Court TV was formed in 1991 by Steven Brill (b. 1950), a former journalist and founder of American Lawyer magazine.
Brill ignored focus group recommendations that a network devoted to live court coverage would fail, but a spate of sensational trials in the network’s early years confounded naysayers, as millions of armchair barristers ingested this meatier variety of daytime drama, following with intense scrutiny the legal theater of Rodney King, the Menendez Brothers, Lorena Bobbitt, Jeffrey Dahmer, and of course, O.J. Simpson.
The latter provided the largest audiences (136,000 homes) and, later, a new host in defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran. While some legal commentators have criticized Court TV for highlighting tabloid subjects, the network insists that only a small percentage is devoted to the splashy stuff.
Available in 32 million homes by mid-1997,… Continue reading